My Garden in 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Good and Yummy So many salad tomatoes! Since April, the kitchen basket has stayed full and for weeks we had enough to share with family and some to take to the Farmers Market, too. If people have trouble growing tomatoes, they really should try some of the smaller ones. The newer varieties like Terenzo have the bite I’m looking for, and nothing beats the crisp sweetness of heirloom yellow pear tomatoes. Sun Sugar is orange and truly my favorite for eating by the handful out in the garden. Catnip, basil, and, for the first time, cilantro, did beautifully this year. We grew enough catnip for the kitty toys, but ate all the basil last month and didn’t get any into the freezer. Two crops, and we ate it all! Pretty peppers, I’m happy to say, and plenty of them. We grow Tabasco peppers from seed every year to make vinegar for the table. Yes, it’s hot but even better, it’s tasty because I mix red, green, and yellow peppers together in all but a couple of jars. Those are pure red T’s and quite spicy, but I do like it to perk up steamed cabbage on New Year’s Day. I look forward to planting potatoes and English peas again in February. Go for the shortest season variety that you can find to grow both English and snow peas. If the spring heats up fast, you’ll still make a crop. If it doesn’t, you’ll harvest for weeks. The Bad and Undone The postal carrier who visits Chez Ingram 6 days a week needs a new path, and I didn’t get it done this year. I count on him (we did have a woman a few years ago, but Joey has been with us ever since) yet I have allowed the path to deteriorate badly. I know what to do – 35 or so stepping stones and a load of mulch will take care of it, along with more muscle than I can muster. I feel guilty, and I don’t think my annual bag of homemade chex mix will assuage it. I have too many plants. There, I’ve written it and soon the universe will know. The collection has grown in directions I no longer want to pursue. Some are plants that were given to me to trial, but most are literally homegrown and propagated here. They are like old friends who’ve gone in a different direction. It’s nice to hear from them, but I’m not sure if I want to spend this much time with them anymore. I don’t feel guilty about that. The Ugly and Costly If you eat salad everyday like we do, you need to grow lettuce to stay out of the poorhouse. I’m spending money this year because the lettuce wimped out and that is not good. The lettuce isn’t as good, either. I sowed the first seeds too early; they succumbed to heat. The second came up but are growing very slowly since the cold snap last month. I hope they’ll take off soon – I’m getting hungry. The point of this tale is to reveal the foibles of gardening. What works one year may not the next, but we keep at it out of curiosity and personal challenge. I know I can grow lettuce, and I will again. As Dorothy Parker famously said, “You can lead a Horticulture but you can’t make her think.”
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